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Building Healthy Habits: Say Goodbye to the "All or Nothing" Approach

January 12, 2024 4 min read

Building Healthy Habits: Say Goodbye to the "All or Nothing" Approach-VPA Australia

We've all been there. You decide to overhaul your life overnight, pledging to eat nothing but kale and hit the gym every day. You're going strong for a week or two, but then life happens, and you find yourself face-first in a pizza box, feeling like a failure.  

It's time to ditch the "all or nothing" approach to health and fitness and embrace a more balanced and sustainable lifestyle. In this article, we'll explore some easy-to-follow tips on building healthy habits to make sure we’re counting more wins than losses this year.

1. Start Small, Really Small

The first rule for building healthy habits is to start small. Like, minuscule small. Instead of aiming for a complete diet overhaul, try incorporating a single healthy habit into your daily routine. This could be as simple as swapping out your morning doughnut for a piece of fruit or taking a 10-minute walk during your lunch break. Small changes are easier to stick with and can lead to big results over time.

Bad habits

Bad habits are formed out of routines that give us immediate pleasure. Think, doom scrolling on social media – easy and low commitment as opposed to actual learning or working on things that actually matter to you.

The National Institutes of Health say that these bad habits activate the brain’s reward system. They make us feel good by releasing dopamine, a chemical in the brain. This can create a loop where we keep doing the same thing to get more dopamine.

But bad habits can have negative effects on our physical or mental health over time. They can also lower our productivity.

Good habits

Good habits are essentially formed through repetition and reward. But it takes more work to get there as the gratification is often delayed. One can successfully form a new daily habit when three conditions are met:

  •     You realise something must change.
  •     You realise that only you can make this change.
  •     You realise it must happen now.

When you meet these requirements, you’re more likely to change your behaviour. Consistency is key here. However, what if we fall off the wagon once? Twice? Is it all over? It could be very frustrating, I know. But we can’t let a minor hiccup hinder us from reaching our goals.

2. Consistency Trumps Intensity

Gone are the days of pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion during workouts or surviving on salads alone. Consistency is the name of the game. Opt for regular and manageable changes to your routine to make sure you can realistically keep them up. Whether it's a daily walk, a weekly dance class, or yoga sessions, find what works for you and stick to it. It's the steady effort that wins the race.

3. Make Things Enjoyable

hatever the goal, it helps to find ways to make it exciting rather than a dreaded chore. For example, if you’re building on the habit of consistently exercising, find an activity you genuinely enjoy, and you'll be more likely to stick with it. Love dancing? Take up dance classes. Enjoy the great outdoors? Try hiking or biking. When exercise becomes a fun part of your life, it's no longer a burden.

Here are some other ideas up on our sleeve:

  • Cleaning the house– blast some music while you’re at it and bop to your favourite tunes!
  • Staying hydrated – keep your cool and trusty VPA 1L Insulated water bottle beside you at work to remind you to keep hydrated throughout the day.
  • Fight doom scrolling – find productivity apps that lock certain apps (Eep!) for a period of time. Set it your way, of course. This is certainly very useful at work. Your boss will love it for you. *wink

4. Master the Art of Mindful Eating

No more crazy diets. Period. Ditch the diets that make you swear off your favourite foods forever. Instead, practice mindful eating. Pay attention to your body's hunger cues and savour each bite. Opt for whole, nutritious foods, but allow yourself to indulge in moderation. By developing a healthy relationship with food, you can enjoy it without the guilt.

5. Get Your Zzz's and Manage Stress

Sleep and stress management are your secret weapons in the journey to a healthier you. Prioritise sleep by establishing a regular bedtime routine and creating a cosy sleep environment. To tackle stress, experiment with techniques like meditation, yoga, or simply taking a moment to breathe deeply. Both sleep and stress play a pivotal role in your overall well-being as well as your results at the gym.  

6. Track Your Progress

Keeping tabs on your progress can be incredibly motivating. Use a journal or a fitness app to record your workouts, meals, and any positive changes you notice in your body and mood. Don't forget to celebrate your victories, no matter how small they may seem, and use setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow.

7. Find Support and Accountability

Building healthy habits is easier when you have a support system in place. Share your goals with friends, family, or a workout buddy who can provide encouragement and help you stay accountable. Joining a fitness class or a community group centred around your interests can also keep you motivated and connected with like-minded individuals.

If VPA Australia is on your radar, definitely join our VPA Facebook Community page, where we share and discuss tips like these with people like you!


Conclusion:

In the quest for a healthier lifestyle, it's time to wave goodbye to the "all or nothing" approach and embrace the beauty of balance. Start small, be consistent, make exercise enjoyable, practice mindful eating, prioritise sleep and stress management, track your progress, and seek support when needed. Remember, health and fitness are lifelong journeys. It’s a lifestyle. And it's the small, sustainable changes that lead to the most significant improvements.  

VPA Australia

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